Creator/Supervisor Masahi Kishimoto
Art by Mikio Ikemoto
Script by Ukyo Kodachi
Translated by Mari Morimoto
Touch-up Art & Lettering by Snir Aharon
Volume one of Boruto: Naruto The Next Generations has a lot to unpack. The shinobi world has completely changed; there is a new Hokage of the Hidden Leaf, there appears to be even greater technology than before–including a train system and some sort of modern-day looking city–and scriptwriter Kodachi Ukyo makes it immediately clear that this story is about Boruto and not his father and namesake of the previous series Naruto.
The cold opening is startling and, short of going into spoiler territory, let’s just say it’s going to be one hell of a ride to get to where this volume starts and who knows what’s going to come after it. The premise appears to be solid, even if it was just a glimpse, and now Kodachi, along with original creator and supervisor of this series Kishimoto Masahi, has the task of bringing the reader along until we reach the point that the first few pages hint at.
On the art side of things, Ikemoto Mikio seems more than up to the task of following in the footsteps of Kishimoto. His style is certainly different from his predecessor but not in a way that would be jarring to somebody moving from the original manga–or even the anime–directly into this new story. It’s in the same wheelhouse as the previous Naruto series while still maintaining his own touch but with a fresh feel. It gives a new sort of energy to a series and story that has been ongoing since it’s serialization started in 1999.
Boruto has a different edge to it. It’s not the same story of a loner trying to become Hokage and doing everything in his power to achieve his goal. The familiar set pieces we remember from Naruto have grown up and are now the Jonin ninja teaching, well, the next generation. It adds new dynamics and new ways for the familiar characters to interact with each other and the rest of the shinobi world. It’s exciting to see the story continue and be allowed to watch this world continue to grow and evolve with new characters at the forefront. Plus, we get more Sasuke (who is somehow even cooler?) and the mighty Naruto–oh and hopefully Shikamaru gets some good screen time–even if they’re not the main characters that Kishimoto and Kodachi are going to focus on. If you enjoyed Naruto, either anime or manga, you definitely need to check out this new series. Believe it.